Spanish and Portuguese officials hope the $140 million, 160,000 square-foot center, opened on Friday, will pole-vault their nations into the fields of “nanomedicine, environmental monitoring, nanoelectronics and molecular nanomanipulation,” according to a Reuters story.

The news agency says countries hope that the international status of the center, located in Braga (north of Lisbon) will make the hiring of scientists from other countries easier.

A annual budget of 30 million euros is targeted to support total of 200 scientists and 100 doctorate students, less than half of which have been hired. Officials say the center is expected to be up to full speed in this time next year.

A video of the official opening of the center is available at Euronews.